Three women in business attire sit at a table to hear a workshop on trade data
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ITC tools reveal strong prospects for exports from Albania and Serbia

5 June 2024
ITC News

Workshops in Belgrade, Serbia, and Tirana, Albania, guided trade experts in how to use specialized tools from the International Trade Centre (ITC). The hands-on sessions revealed how regional trade has boosted economies in both countries, and highlighted which exports have the most growth potential. 

Albania’s potential in footwear exports 

Both Albania and Serbia are part of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and the trade data show close ties among its members. Over the last five years, exports from Albania grew significantly to Montenegro and North Macedonia, for example, even though Italy remains its main market. Between 2021 and 2022, the country’s exports grew by 21%, led by mineral products, footwear and apparel. According to ITC estimates, Albania shows even more potential for growth in exports to regional, EU markets and beyond. 

Serbia as a supplier of electrical machinery and fruits 

What does Serbia’s export landscape look like? Its exports are growing well, dominated by electrical machinery sold to the EU and regional markets. Other fast-growing sectors are ‘ores, slag and ash’, edible fruits, paper and paper-board, as well as soap. Exporting more products to more markets has improved Serbia’s economic stability. Strategic trade policies, with a focus on enhancing competitive advantages, have facilitated export growth in electrical machinery, automotive parts, and agribusiness​. Overall, Serbia's export strategy leverages its geographic position, manufacturing capabilities, and growing economic partnerships to bolster its global trade footprint. 

How data reveals opportunities 

These findings emerged from the workshops, which targeted government officials, market analysts, export consultants, university lecturers, students, and inclusive trade experts. The participants learned to prepare Quantitative Export Factsheets, which methodically screen and prioritize markets for a diverse set of export products. This exercise enabled them to explore regional and global market opportunities. 

The two Customized Market Analysis Training workshops, under the ITC project Trade Promotion East: Balkan States and Central Asia, were held between 13 and 24 May 2024 in Albania and Serbia. The participants eagerly delved into the latest practical approaches to trade and market analysis using ITC Market Analysis Tools

A highlight was the session on the new Pan Euro-Mediterranean convention on preferential rules of origin. 

Throughout the workshops, participants received comprehensive training on powerful ITC tools on trade flows, market access conditions, export potential calculations and rules of origin. The approach combined theoretical learning with practical applications. Each day featured interactive sessions, case studies, and individual work that applied the tools to real-world scenarios. 

The workshops align with the project's focus on improving the competitiveness and sustainable export growth of small businesses, as well as the business support organizations that provide them with services. 

Participants left with enhanced analytical skills and a deeper understanding of global trade dynamics. The workshops underscored Belgrade's and Tirana’s roles as a vibrant hub for international trade skill development and collaboration.